College set for ‘full structural review’ after Ofsted reports

Easton and Otley College Campus Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Easton and Otley College Campus Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk and Norfolk-based land college is to undergo a full structural review ‘looking at all options’ following two damning Ofsted reports.

Easton and Otley College Campus Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Easton and Otley College Campus Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Easton and Otley College leaders say they are determined to secure its long-term future after a Further Education Commissioner (FEC) intervention was triggered late last year by its second ‘inadequate’ rating.

Its report, due out today (Thursday, February 7) was followed by a letter from Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills Anne Milton, who has confirmed to college chair of governors Mark Pendlington that a full structural review will take place over the coming months.

MORE – College dealt new blow after second damning inspection reportThe review, with the priority on looking at ‘all options that will help to underpin the future of the college’ will include an extensive consultation process, with a recommendation made by the FEC to the minister and college board. This process is expected to be concluded between Easter and early summer.

Managers and governors at the college say they are committed to strengthening the fortunes of the college, and “fully support” the plan for a formal appraisal of the institution’s strategy and resources.

They will be working alongside experts from business, education, land-based industries, and local government to determine a “strong future” for the college, which has 544 staff, and around 5,000 students, they say.

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Principal Jane Townsend said they were “wholly committed” to achieving a positive outcome.

“The support from our students, parents and staff, together with the wider business community, has been nothing short of exceptional, and we are all working together to secure the college’s long-term future,” she said.

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Already, they were seeing a turnaround in a number of areas and were focused on maintaining the momentum, she added.

“People from across Suffolk and Norfolk have told us how much they believe in Easton and Otley College in leading on land-based learning and that they recognise how important it is to secure the future of land based learning, and we are not about to let them down.”

Chair of governors Mark Pendlington said the aim was to make it a “regional and national champion for teaching”, and they had taken on a new principal and senior team to help achieve this.

“We now need to take a close look at how best to build on these strong foundations, and with an open mind, look at all available options,” he said.

“Here in the east we have some of the best land based educational and business experts, with a vast range of knowledge and experience, so we are inviting them to help us decide the best way forward.

“Most importantly, our recovery programme has a top focus on driving further improvements to the quality of teaching and learning, so that we can say to students and parents that they can continue to have every confidence in our ability to provide the best possible jobs and careers for all our learners.”

The college board will be responding to the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, detailing the college’s progress to date, against the FEC’s recommendations.

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